Innovation Exchange

Baldovie Community Re-use Hub

Introduction

Key activities

Benefits and impacts

Learning

The Baldovie Community Re-use Hub is a joint business partnership between Dundee City Council, Dundee Social Enterprise Network and two local Social Enterprises, Transform and Tayside Reusers, who collect donated items at the Hub which would have previously been treated as waste, then restore and redistribute

them to the local community. The Hub was jointly funded by Dundee City Council and grants from Zero Waste Scotland and Big Lottery.

 

This initiative ensures that items which were previously incinerated or landfilled are now given a new lease of life and are of benefit to the local community.  A targeted communications strategy is raising awareness of the value of re-use,  resulting in a monthly increase in items donated and a reduction in fly- tipping.

 

Another benefit of the project is that the third sector partners engage with volunteers, who learn new skills and increase their prospects of employment, by testing and repairing items received at the hub.

Theme: Partnership and Collaboration

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The project delivers economic, social and environmental benefits:

 

Economic

Keeping goods in use for longer is a critical part of delivering a circular economy. It reduces pressures on raw materials and has the potential to create new jobs and training opportunities.

 

Social

The project offers employability opportunities, improving the prospects of young people. Training initiatives already created are complemented by work placements available at the Re-use Hub. Local charities are providing learning opportunities and skills development to their volunteers, and in some cases helping to re-socialise and integrate them back into the community.

 

The project also provides affordable furniture, appliances and other household good, supporting individuals and families at a time of most need to access furniture they otherwise could not afford and providing furniture in emergency situations.

 

Environmental

Reduction in demand on finite natural resources and the associated environmental impacts of the extraction, harvesting and processing of those resources, are key outcomes, along with minimising greenhouse gas emissions associated with waste collection, transportation and treatment.

A governance structure has been established comprising Dundee City Council, Dundee Social Enterprise Network, Tayside Re-users and Transform to oversee the operation of the Partnership throughout the pilot period and to steer the initiative towards sustainability in the future. Meetings are held on a bi-monthly basis to review success of the pilot.

 

Success has been measured by assessing baseline data and forecast targets outlined to Zero Waste Scotland as part of the original funding agreement. A database is used to record delivery and collection information, and statistical reports can be provided to management and stakeholders or used for publicity purposes, e.g. the cost for a family buying reused furniture compared to using a high street retailer.

 

The feedback from partners indicates they are happy with the quality of items they are receiving. They are also reliant on volunteers to refurbish some items and the skills the volunteers are learning, combined with the wellbeing generated at being engaged in meaningful work, are positive factors towards the volunteer’s future prospects. There are some high quality items that are being redistributed to families to improve the quality

of their lives in some challenging situations.

 

The hub has been well received by the general public and this is due to the effective promotion of its existence and social / charitable purpose. Since the Re-use hub opened, tonnages have increased each month. There are strong indicators that there is a continued need for the Hub and an appetite for the general public to donate items as benefits to the local community are realised. However, its future success depends on whether it can become sustainable as a viable business, continued commitment of partners, running costs, availability and willingness of volunteers and quality of items donated.

 

Simply put, the Re-use Hub works, and is improving a range of opportunities for young people and social enterprises. The team have worked extremely hard to develop a strong, committed public/ third sector partnership and, through the initial six month pilot period, have realised many economic, social and environmental benefits, through diverting items from disposal to be re-used, supporting the local community by

teaching new skills to volunteers and providing much needed items for disadvantaged families and communities.

The project is innovative as it is a unique opportunity to reduce waste disposal costs in parallel with providing jobs, volunteering and training opportunities. It provides local Social Enterprises with a source of items which can be refurbished, reused and sold on at a below market price. Their aims are to give disadvantaged members of the community an opportunity to learn new skills, thereby increasing their confidence and

employability, and to supply quality furniture to households who are in need of support.

 

Barriers to success included tight project timescales, reaching agreement with partners, development of a targeted meaningful communications strategy to promote re-use within Dundee and promote the Hub itself, changing people’s mindsets about potentially re-usable goods, site relationships, meeting training needs, and ensuring the Hub becomes a viable, sustainable business for the future. The pilot period has been extended to assess this and seek further funding to cover staffing costs during this extension. Effective communication and governance of hub project are helping to shape its sustainability and longevity. Checkpoints are in place to review the operation of the hub. Operational and governance meetings with partners ensure issues and risks are assessed, evaluated, assigned and resolved collaboratively. The organisations involved in the partnership learn from each other, seeking advice when necessary and sharing expertise to further success.

 

Dundee City Council has been able to promote the hub project in parallel with a major recycling project across the city’s domestic and commercial refuse collections. There is a synergy between the projects and they dovetail together, contributing to achievement of the objective in Dundee’s Single Outcome Agreement that "Our people will live in a low carbon, sustainable society.”

 

Zero Waste Scotland intend to use the “Dundee model” as a template for other local authorities as it has been successful over a relatively short period. Council staff have also had the opportunity to visit Transform and Tayside Reusers premises, to illustrate what the benefits of these items are to the community and how important the hub is in capturing quality items.

Contact details:

To find out more about this case study, please contact:

 

Catherine Conroy

Projects Team Leader

Dundee City Council

01382 436378

Case study added to site: June 2016

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